[Probably Kyoto: 1862 or shortly thereafter].
The opening of Japan by Perry caused tremendous political and economic turmoil and violence within the hitherto relatively peaceful country. The country was divided into two groups: the first supported the shogun and his cooperation with the Western nations and the second considered these changes a betrayal of traditional Japanese values and called for the emperor to unify the country.
Political assassinations became common on the streets of Kyoto. This manuscript describes and depicts a series of victims of assassination, most of whom were supporters of the shogun. They include Seiichiro Homma, Genba Ugo, Kinzaburo Watanabe, Shigezo Oogawara, Tatekiwa Tada, Hajime Kagawa, and finally Kazue Murayama, the mistress of Naosuke Ii. In each case there is a gruesome illustration of their heads on stakes or their bodies tied to racks with a facing account of their “crimes.” There is also an illustration of Hajime Kagawa’s severed head, ear, and arm. These parts of his body were sent to aristocratic families as warnings.
Chaos and violence continued in Kyoto for several more years, in spite of military interventions. Eventually the shogunate came to an end and the Meiji Restoration commenced with the emperor established as the symbolic head of the country.
In fine condition.
Item ID: 5456